flickr user: Corsey21
They are the quintessence of outdoor entertainment, the cornerstone of carnival history from which everything started, even Disney’s idea of a theme park burgeoned around one. Their adult size wooden horses best represent the wish of Walt Disney to let adults and children play together. In a Disney Kingdom, they strike on entering as you see them spinning like an enchanted zoetrope whose window is none other than the Castle itself.
This article is about the 5 Carrousels of the 5 Magic Kingdoms !
flickr user: Disneyland Postcards
5 Carrousels is the shortcut title of the article for each of those Disneyfied merry-go-rounds have their very own name.
King Arthur Carrousel opened in 1955 in Anaheim and Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel recently renamed Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel followed in Orlando. Tokyo got a simpler Castle Carrousel only 5 years after opening while Disneyland Paris received the pompous Le Carrousel de Lancelot and Hong Kong another Cinderella Carrousel.
flickr user: trekkiebeth
Each carousel is Disney-made but one – Disneyland’s original. This one Disney bought from Toronto and plussed it upon arrival in California. It was redesigned slightly as only horses could be riden on Disney’s French spelled Carrousel. Anything else was removed and used on other Disneyland attractions. Going against usual carousel practices which left each animal’s feet firm on the ground, WED Enterprises decided to bend some knees as to give the impression those wooden mammals were actually moving.
There are 2 merry-go-round designs and 2 canopy designs for this attraction.
flickr user: FrogMiller
Disneyland and Hong Kong, as often, share the same merry-go-round. It has 68 white horses aligned in four rows. The top ornaments are mirrors and jester heads both lit as backstage mirrors. In the back of the platform, what used to be mirrors are painted scenes of the Sleeping Beauty movie.
flickr user: dmbpphoto
flickr user: sizemoresr
For the 3 other carousels, Walt Disney World’s original merry-go-round will be used. The ornaments are of small mirrors flanked with two ladies, one with eagle and fasces, the other with a shield. In between each ensemble lays a medallion with Disney’s Cinderella movie images for Tokyo and Orlando, and Lancelot and the Lady of the Lake painting imagery for Paris.
flickr user: Jenn Owen, montage by 5 Kingdoms
Repetitive adornments in the center for Orlando and Tokyo are the eagles, and a lily flower for Paris. The horses are always white since King Arthur Carrousel’s scarce white horses’ popularity in the 50’s tampered with the attraction’s smooth operation. Only Disneyland Paris itself got colorful horses aligned following a rainbow’s order of colors. Another particularity of Paris is the 16 fully armored horses of the external rows who’ve specially been designed by an Ohio sculptor.
Not every carousel shares the same canopy! Even though its name brings it to mind, King Arthur Carrousel was never about the movie which only opened 8 years later. The theme was of Lancelot and the Lady of the Lake. In respect to this, the shields on the pillars of the canopy bore the seals of 10 founding knights of the round table. This is perpetuated on Disneyland Paris’ spear shaped pillars since Le Carrousel de Lancelot is defintely themed after Lancelot and his ‘Dame du Lac’. Paris’ canopy is similar to Disneyland, only its topping differs.
flickr user: House Of Secrets Incorporated
The shields are also present on Hong Kong’s Cinderella Carrousel’s canopy which is an open replica of Disneyland’s.
The two canopies left are Tokyo’s Castle Carrousel and its inspiration, Orlando’s Cinderella Golden Carrousel. They both share a unique pentagonal tent crowned with a pinacle and golden toppings.
flickr user : IceNineJon
They all share this unique location facing the castle back gate. A location in the heart of Fantasyland which have Carrousel riders fly by a spinning medieval reverie. For many this magical moment includes children and parents. This way the 5 Disney Carrousels capture Disneyland’s true purpose, having guests enjoy a family moment which through variable appeals will amaze adults and children. For this particular reason, the carrousels are and will always be both the keystone and cornerstone of any Kingdom it passively upholds.
And a special thanks to Partyhare for an amazing work of proofreading and fact verification!